Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) held a keel-laying ceremony on 28th August for the second of three Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV) for the South African Navy, the company announced.
The inspection was a unique event, planned to ensure the well-being of delegates during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As well as stringent safety measures on location, physical attendance was reduced to a minimum, with the majority attending remotely with digital conference facilities.
The South African Navy’s Project BIRO aims to develop maritime security, ensuring the country’s capabilities to respond effectively, rapidly, and cost-efficiently to maritime threats such as piracy and illegal fishing.
Following a safety briefing, DSCT board member Sefale Montsi opened the keel laying inspection welcoming guests. Ms Montsi said, “I give thanks as a South African to be associated with this project. There is much value in the seas for South Africa and its economy. I am proud to be part of a project that protects our borders and resources.”
The MMIPVs draw on proven technology from Damen’s standardised range of patrol boats, which covers everything from 10-metre Interceptors and 50-metre patrol vessels, to 140-metre frigates. The vessels for Project BIRO are tailored to the specific requirements of the South African Navy and feature the Damen Sea Axe Bow – a vertical hull form that reduces slamming for safe, comfortable operations in rough seas. The MMIPVs are the first Sea Axe vessels to operate in South Africa.
The project undertaking serves as a demonstration of Damen Maritime Security Solutions in action. With this initiative, Damen not only delivers a ship, but rather a total maritime solution, encompassing every aspect of vessel operation throughout the lifecycle as well as the contribution to a sustainable maritime industry in the region in which it operates.
To that end, Damen has truly and enthusiastically embraced, adopted and integrated the various applicable government programmes, such as the Defence Industrial Participation (DIP), Department of Trade and Industry’s Local Content and Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) and Youth Employment Service (YES Initiative) into its project approach, and by doing so is looking to over-achieve on the requirements of these programmes. For example, Damen will exceed Project BIRO’s 60% local content requirements, issuing contracts to a large number of local suppliers. As a result of their work on Project BIRO, many of these suppliers are now earmarked for work on Damen projects in and outside of South Africa. Additionally, DSCT’s undertaking of the project has created over 300 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs in line with the South African Government’s Operation Phakisa objectives.